BOB: Tiger Stadium and MLB Networkby Brian Borawski
May 01, 2008
San Francisco misses Barry Bonds
It appears that rubber chickens are big business, or at least they used to be. Beginning in 2004 when Barry Bonds shattered the single-season intentional walk record, AT&T Park began selling rubber chickens that fans would wave at opposing pitchers when they gave the home-run king a free pass. Now that Bonds is gone, vendors have rubber chickens to burn. One vendor stated that rubber chickens accounted for as much as 20 percent of his booth's sales when Bonds was in the lineup, and now demand is so low they’re sitting in a bin with little hope of being sold.
Another businessman is missing Barry because he rented kayaks for fans in McCovey Cove. With Bonds gone, nobody has hit a long ball into the cove, and his rental business has dried up. Oh, and attendance for the Giants is down 15 percent from this time last year.
Portland Sea Dogs break their attendance record
The Portland Sea Dogs announced that they’ve broken their attendance record for the month of April. The tally of just over 65,000 fans breaks the previous record set in 2002, when 54,000 fans showed up to the ballpark in April. In addition, this past Saturday the Sea Dogs broke their single-game attendance record with 7,368 fans.
Dodgers discuss upcoming renovations
The Los Angeles Dodgers last week unveiled their plans for Dodger Stadium. They plan on spending $500 million through 2012. Upgrades are planned for the walkways, concourses, restaurants, shops and landscaping, and a museum is in the works. New team offices and a new parking structure are also planned. It’s nice to see a team putting money into their current stadium, and Frank McCourt even talked about the possibility of celebrating a 100th anniversary of Dodgers Stadium in 50 years.
MLB Network president named
The MLB Networks' planned debut is on January 1, 2009, and the upcoming baseball station now has someone in charge. Tony Petitti was named the President and CEO, and he’ll bring his experience at CBS Sports with him. Petitti was the executive vice president and executive producer for CBS Sports, where he oversaw pretty much everything. He has been with CBS sports for more than 10 years, and in 2000, he was named as part of the “40 Under 40” top executives in the industry in the Sports Business Journal.
Frisco RoughRiders get television deal
Minor League Baseball is becoming more and more popular, a fact that is highlighted by the increasing number of teams getting television deals. The Frisco RoughRiders and TXA 21 have come to an agreement that will broadcast 10 games this season, with the first coming in mid-May. There were no details on the financial terms of the deal.
Tiger Stadium’s future hangs in the balance
The city of Detroit has awarded a demolition contract to dismantle Tiger Stadium, and the demolition team is expected to tear down at least 75 percent of the stadium beginning next month. The demolition company is providing the service at no charge because they’ll be able to keep all of the steel that’s part of the ballpark.
In the meantime, the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy is trying to save a corner of the ballpark for public use. They have until June 1, 2008, to come up with $369,000 to protect the dugout-to-dugout portion of the stadium. If they can’t come up with the money, the city will have to decide whether to give the group an extension or accept $300,000 from the demolition group to tear down the entire stadium.
The Dodgers' move westward
Gary Gillette recently penned a two-part series on the Dodgers' move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. The focus is then-Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley. Part One lays down some of the history of the subject, and then Part Two takes a look at the attendance of the Dodgers, both before and after the move.
Meet the Spaceman
If you live in the Detroit area and you’re a baseball fan, I highly recommend you try to make it to the Third Annual Ernie Harwell Collection Baseball History Symposium at the Detroit Public Library. It’s on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, at 6:30 p.m., and the keynote speaker is none other then the Spaceman, Bill Lee. The former Red Sox pitcher will talk about his career, and he’ll be available to sign books. Mike Shannon will also be talking about his latest book, Willie Mays: Art in the Outfield.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.